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COVID-19: Police Arrest Two Pilots For Flying into Port Harcourt

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The Commissioner of Police in Rivers, Mr Mustapha Dandaura has confirmed the arrest of the pilot and co-pilot of Carveton Helicopters, who allegedly ferried unknown passengers into the State.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dandaura made this known on Tuesday, at the State’s Police headquarters when Gov.

Nyesom Wike of Rivers visited him.

According to him, the command arrested the pilots, who allegedly violated the regulations regarding the restriction order,  to curb the spread of Novel COVID-19.

“Recall that when this coronavirus issues started, there was ban of local flight from coming into the State.

Since that time we have been monitoring the activities of these private airlines.

“We received an intelligence report that an aircraft has landed at the Airforce base and that it was carrying some passengers.

“To our surprise this morning this aircraft landed without any signal or permission from the authorities. We don’t know their mission here.

“Maybe they are coming here to sabotage the activities of the state and the security agencies that are putting efforts on ground to ensure that Rivers State enjoy peaceful atmosphere throughout this pandemic period.

“We have apprehended the Pilot and the Co-pilot. That is why we alerted the executive Governor of the state who had given an order that on no account should any aircraft land on Rivers State without clearance.

“We don’t know the people they brought; whether they are positive or negative of Coronavirus; where are they heading to and where they came from .’’

He commended Gov. Wike for his commitment to the protection of the lives of people of Rivers.

The Executive Order signed by the state governor on March 19 suspended flights to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Air Force Base and Bonny Airstrip beginning from March 26.

The Executive Order signed by Governor Wike is titled: Executive Order RVSG – 01 2020 Pursuant to Sections 2, 4 And 8 of Quarantine ACT, CAP. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Regulation 11 of the Quarantine (CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) And Other Infectious Diseases) Regulations, 2020.

Responding, Wike expressed his willingness to set aside his immunity to testify against persons who violate the state’s border closure regulations aimed at preventing the spread of Coronavirus.

Wike said that the protection of Rivers people was an important assignment that must be executed with the seriousness it deserved.

He said: “I am willing to drop my immunity as a governor as far as this case is concerned. I am ready to be a prosecution witness.’’

He charged the police to prosecute the matter to its logical conclusion to serve as deterrent to those interested in violating the regulations of the state regarding the fight against Coronavirus.

“I want to say this is a serious matter to us and police should handle it seriously.  That is why I am here at the state command.

“Nobody says that you can’t go to any state but now we are in a war situation. This Covid-19 is even worse than a conventional war.

“We want to know those people you brought in, so that we have to trace them to know their identity and status.

“Luckily, we have seen the pilot and the Co-pilot.  They will assist the police in identifying them.’’

Wike reiterated that although the state government had no power to close airports, it has the right to check those coming into the state in order to ascertain their status.

“I have always said that we need the support of everybody.  Nobody knows the status of those coming into Port Harcourt. Nobody knows whether they are positive or negative

“I have said before that I don’t have right to close the airport. But I have the right of saying don’t enter my state because we want to know your status,” he said.

He wondered why Carveton Helicopters decided to cut corners when the State Government outlined the procedure for flying expatriates from Lagos into Rivers.

He also said that the company had written to intimate his administration on bringing people which he forwarded to Commissioner of Police to perform security checks and the health officials to perform their duties before allowing them.

Wike, who said that his administration was duty-bound to protect the people of Rivers from Coronavirus, confirmed the second case of Coronavirus in the state.

He said the person is 62 years old and recently returned from United Kingdom and entered the State through Lagos.

Wike also confirmed that the index case of the state had been discharged from the treatment/isolation centre in Eleme.

According to him, the positive index case of the virus we had, by the grace of God has been discharged.

“What we have now is another case of a 62 years old person who came in from the UK and landed in Lagos and then moved to Port Harcourt,’’ he said.(NAN)

Aviation

Passengers Stranded as NLC Locks Down Abuja Airport

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By Idris Umar Feta Abuja

Many air travellers were left stranded following the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, by officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday.

A combined team of NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) blocked both the entry and exit ways of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The protest was part of the series of actions that the two labour unions say they would zero in on Imo, following the attack on the NLC president, Joe Ajaero.

The NLC and TUC had on Tuesday, declared a nationwide strike, which will commence on Tuesday, November 14, due to the face-off with the Imo State Government.

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Soludo Names Airport After  Achebe

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Anambra State Governor, Professor Charles Soludo has renamed the state’s International Passenger and Cargo Airport after the late Chinua Achebe, a novelist, to immortalise him for making an indelible mark on the history of human civilisation.

Achebe a native of Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, died on March 21, 2013, at age 82, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Soludo said this on Sunday in Awka at the Independence Day parade, to mark Nigeria’s 63rd anniversary, describing Achebe as an example of Africa’s unsung hero.

“Achebe, a Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic, gave the African literature an identity and a voice and he rightly reconstructed and refined the identify of the people,” he said.

The governor said that Achebe was not just an Anambra hero nor a Nigerian hero, but an African and global hero and yet largely unsung at home.

He said that henceforth, the state shall be deliberate in fishing out and celebrating its largely unsung heroes as motivation to children and youths.

“Unfortunately, some people wrongly think of legacies in terms of brick and mortar. Legacy is about impact on human life and human civilisation.

“Achebe was not a president or governor or military. He did not build bridges or roads or airports but he will outlive most presidents, governors and ministers in our minds.

“Achebe rejected Nigeria’s national honours twice in protest against what he perceived as injustice to his home state Anambra. Today, Anambra will finally honour him.

“After wide consultations, there is a broad consensus that no one is more deserving to be named after the first airport in Anambra than Anambra’s all-time greatest literary gift to the world, Chinua Achebe.

“Consequently, we will rename the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri, to Chinua Achebe International Airport, Umueri.

“Yes, it has to be an international airport, and we hope to work with the Federal Government to give full effect to its international status,” he said.

Soludo urged Nigerians to be intentional about making the project Nigeria work and believe in the potential greatness of the country.

“We have muddled through the past 63 years with squandered opportunities and yet with the promise of potential greatness

“No country or nation is a perfect. Every nation continues to struggle in its match to a more perfect union. The path to stability, growth and sustainability will be challenging as there are no quick fixes.

“But all of us must collectively think and work Nigeria out of the current challenges. We have no other country but Nigeria, and we must make it to work for everyone, “he said.

The governor said his administration was founded on the true progressive agenda and would continue to create the enabling environment for residents to thrive and survive.

The police, paramilitary organisations and students from different schools took part in the parade. (NAN)

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Abiodun flags off Aviation Village construction

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Abiodun flags off Aviation Village construction

Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun on Tuesday flagged off the construction of 200 units of two-bedroom expanded bungalows, at the Gateway Aviation Village, Iperu in Ikenne Local Government Area of the state.

The governor, represented by his Special Adviser on Housing, Jagunmolu Omoniyi, said the project would herald the creation of a new city in the town and serve the entire Remo cluster and the state in general.

He said the project was divided into two phases, with the first 100 units to be ready in six months.

According to the governor, the siting of the housing scheme would serve institutions and people who will make use of the Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport.

Abiodun noted that government agencies like the Customs, the Nigerian Air Force and other corporate bodies had already indicated interest in the airport.

He said that the project would create jobs for about 5,000 artisans of various skills in the course of execution.

“This is the people’s project. This housing scheme will complement the airport and serve those who will work in this town.

“I can assure you that within two years, the story of this town will change. We will not engage outsiders to work in this estate, but the people of this town.

“We have done similar projects at Kemta, Idi-Aba and Kobape. The siting of similar housing estate has changed the landscape of Kobape, which was a village before, to a lively city,” he said.

The governor called on prospective buyers to start the process by obtaining their forms, charging the people to support and take ownership of the project for the development of the town.

In his remarks, the Chairman of Ikenne Local Government Area, Mr Segun Ogunleye, expressed gratitude to the governor, saying with the siting of the housing estate and the cargo airport, the development of the town was assured.(NAN)

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